‘The Power of the Kraken:’ Seattle Monorail Ridership Spikes for Hockey Games

Seattle’s new professional hockey team is drawing legions of enthusiastic fans. Around a quarter of them are taking public transit, such as the city’s often-maligned monorail, to games.

2 minute read

May 25, 2023, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View from under track of Seattle monorail passing under Frank Gehry-designed Museum of Pop Culture with Space Needle in background

Jose Luis Stephens / Seattle Monorail

It’s not just Taylor Swift who can move people to take transit. Among all the doom and gloom public transit stories, there’s a ray of hope, according to an article by David Kroman in The Seattle Times: the Seattle Center Monorail (cue The Simpsons ‘Monorail’ song, for those of us of a certain age).

The elevated train — built for the 1962 World’s Fair and occasionally mocked in popular culture — saw better ridership in the first quarter of this year than it has in any similar period since at least 2009, easily outpacing its pre-pandemic ridership.

The Monorail’s high ridership can be traced to the success of Seattle’s brand new NHL hockey team, the Kraken, whose arena gave the Monorail a new ridership base. “ Through April, the monorail had 533,000 rides, about 150,000 more than the same period in 2022 and over 100,000 more than the same four months in 2019.”

Public transit was a key component of NHL Seattle’s strategy for limiting traffic congestion to the new stadium. “With each Kraken and Storm ticket, fans would receive a free pass on Sound Transit, Metro and/or the monorail, a benefit not available when the Sonics were still in town. This year, the arena added the perk to concerts and other events.”

Data from the team and transit agencies show that roughly 25 percent of fans are using transit to get to Kraken games, with a smaller percentage of people using transit for other events such as concerts.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 in The Seattle Times

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